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Suggestions for a 10-day, PNW trip in July?
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Peter Scherpelz
(kpscherpelz) - MLife

Locale: The Mountainless Midwest...
Suggestions for a 10-day, PNW trip in July? on 05/22/2011 14:38:17 MDT Print View

Hi everyone,

I have 11 days of backpacking vacation time set aside for mid-July (starting the 12th), and successfully obtained a permit for the Wonderland Trail during that time. So that will be excellent if enough snow melts and the bridges are put in to make that trail hikeable, but... that doesn't look like a guarantee.

Thus, as a backup, I wanted to solicit ideas for other trails in the Pacific Northwest around the same time. Basically, anything within a 10-hour drive of Seattle, 90-150 miles in length, that is more likely than the Wonderland trail to be passable, would be of interest.

Thanks!
Peter

Peter Scherpelz
(kpscherpelz) - MLife

Locale: The Mountainless Midwest...
Re: Suggestions for a 10-day, PNW trip in July? on 05/23/2011 12:22:38 MDT Print View

I'm hoping the lack of replies is not indicative of a lack of options - but let me go ahead and ask more specifically (but I'm still interested in other suggestions):

Are there parts of the Oregon PCT that may be more clear of snow than Mt. Rainier? E.g. how about the northern part of the trail past Mt. Hood and Mt. Jefferson?

Chris Morgan
(ChrisMorgan) - F

Locale: Southern Oregon
Re: Re: Suggestions for a 10-day, PNW trip in July? on 05/23/2011 12:37:21 MDT Print View

I'm gonna guess that Jefferson area should be melted out by then, but then Jefferson certainly isn't a 10 day trip.

Based on the current snow pack, July is going to be very snowy this year. Are you flying out of Seattle and cannot change airports? Are you set on the PNW? If not, perhaps considering somewhere like Trinity Alps, the Wind River Range, or Colorado.

Here's the snow cover for the middle of July of 08 for Rainier, a heavy snow year. Also, bear in mind that the current snow levels are higher than they were in May of 08:

a

Steven Paris
(saparisor) - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Suggestions for a 10-day, PNW trip in July? on 05/23/2011 12:46:37 MDT Print View

Peter,

One of the most frustrating things about the PNW is this time of year (late spring - early summer) is that you feel like you should be able to get into the mountains and just can't b/c of slow-melting snowpack.

I think Chris is right about this year's snow, although it might be a good idea to check in constantly with the rangers at Rainier on the status of the trails.

Trinity Alps seems like a good suggestion too, about 10+ drive from Seattle, but almost all on I-5 until CA. At least its far enough south that the snow might not be a problem.

Peter Scherpelz
(kpscherpelz) - MLife

Locale: The Mountainless Midwest...
Re: Re: Re: Suggestions for a 10-day, PNW trip in July? on 05/23/2011 12:54:18 MDT Print View

Thanks for the suggestions (also - where did you find the graph of historical snowpack? I'd be interested in looking at more of that data). Indeed I've been watching the snowpack and am getting more pessimistic about our chances at Rainier.

Since my wife and I will be flying into Seattle for another event in any case, the closer the better. But... with relatives and friends in different parts of the country and this being a long enough trip that a full day of driving can be worth it - suggestions from other areas are still attractive and I'll investigate them further.

Chris Morgan
(ChrisMorgan) - F

Locale: Southern Oregon
Re: Re: Re: Re: Suggestions for a 10-day, PNW trip in July? on 05/23/2011 14:05:22 MDT Print View

Take a look at the data for 2008. It most closely mirrors the current snowpack. But then 2008 had less snow than this year, and it's always possible it could melt off faster. This data is not 100% accurate (I think it misses a lot of the leftover drifts and the like), but gives reasonable estimates:

http://www.nohrsc.nws.gov/interactive/html/map.html?mode=pan&extents=us&zoom=&loc=45.45+N%2C+119.19+W&ql=station&var=ssm_depth&dy=2008&dm=7&dd=12&dh=18&snap=1&o9=1&o12=1&o13=1&lbl=m&min_x=-128.48333333333&min_y=42.633333333334&max_x=-113.48333333333&max_y=53.883333333333&coord_x=+-119.19&coord_y=+++45.45&zbox_n=49.24270833333341&zbox_s=45.492708333333745&zbox_e=-119.13645833333&zbox_w=-124.59270833333&metric=0&bgvar=dem&shdvar=shading&width=800&height=600&nw=800&nh=600&h_o=0&font=0&js=1&uc=0

There should be some options in the Cascades or Olympics, especially down lower, that will be open by then. nwhikers.net is a good place to ask.

Kris Sherwood
(Tuskadero) - F

Locale: Washington State
Re: Suggestions for a 10-day, PNW trip in July? on 05/23/2011 14:23:07 MDT Print View

You could look in to the Boundary Trail through the Pasayten Wilderness in north central Washington. Lots of solitude, great scenery, and I believe it is right around 100 miles with tons of side trip options along the way.

The area usually melts out well ahead of the west side Cascades.

Paul Osborn
(bcoutdoors) - F
BC - Stein Valley on 05/23/2011 14:58:07 MDT Print View

Try the Stein Valley through hike:

http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/explore/parkpgs/stein_val/

http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/forums/thread_display.html?forum_thread_id=37089

after that you can hit a couple other hikes in BC.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Suggestions for a 10-day, PNW trip in July? on 05/23/2011 15:24:38 MDT Print View

You could follow the PCT South from the Columbia River.

There will undoubtably be snow going by Mount Hood but based on recent years, there will be tracks to follow. There will be some steep places that can be icy depending on time of day and weather. Do you have experience walking on snow?

Might be a little more melted off further South, but not that much. I've been on the PCT by the Three Sisters and it was pretty much snow free mid August, but that's not much help to you.

You could walk around the Three Sisters but that's only 45 miles.

Peter Scherpelz
(kpscherpelz) - MLife

Locale: The Mountainless Midwest...
Re: Re: Suggestions for a 10-day, PNW trip in July? on 05/23/2011 15:42:16 MDT Print View

Thanks everyone - lots of ideas to consider.

We're willing to do snow travel to some extent - we'll both have ice axes and microspikes if needed, and enough knowledge/experience to use them in basic situations, but I definitely don't want to be in very technical or risky situations.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: Re: Suggestions for a 10-day, PNW trip in July? on 05/23/2011 16:03:52 MDT Print View

If you have microspikes and ice axe you should be able to do the PCT all through Oregon.

Often, the trail will go into a canyon, traversing a slope that's fairly steep because the leveled trail is totally covered, but there isn't a huge cliff to fall over or anything.

Finding the trail can be difficult, but there should tracks where others have already gone.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife

Locale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
Suggestions for a 10-day, PNW trip in July? on 05/23/2011 23:43:28 MDT Print View

Boundary Trail in the Pasayten Wilderness (also part of the Pacific Northwest Trail). It's east of the Cascade Crest and tends to melt out faster.

The Wind Rivers are about in the same state as the Cascades, with snow water equivalent now a whopping 238% of average in the upper Green River Basin. Judging from the below-average stream flows there, nothing is melting yet!

Think sun!